Category: Books

The Tale of the Three Brothers: How History Repeats Itself in Harry Potter

J.K. Rowling is a prolific author who still manages to surprise her fanbase regularly. The Harry Potter series has indeed made quite the impact on numerous generations since it began, as I touched on in my article about re-reading the series as an adult. There are still many mysteries that Rowling has yet to release to her fans, and one of them that makes me wonder more than others is that of Salazar Slytherin’s origins and how it might have potentially played into the rest of the series.

I identify as a Slytherin

That surprises many people, as they believe them to be the “bad” House. To those people, I say that you haven’t read Rowling’s work carefully enough.

No House is permanently defined by such a sweeping definition, and as we saw throughout the books there are bad people from all Houses and walks of life, not just Slytherin. The lack of information on my House’s founder is particularly fascinating to me, because at least we got more information on other House founders.

Then I started to wonder if perhaps the origin of Slytherin was mysterious because of a reason. We don’t even really know where he comes from, just that the Sorting Hat says he’s from “fen,” which can be anything from Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, and a small area of Suffolk. While there are a couple of native species of snakes in Great Britain, I cannot imagine they’re as common as they might be in other areas. This led me to wonder if Voldemort wasn’t the only member of the Slytherin line to lie about his origins.

Before we get into my theory, I’d like to state what we currently know about Salazar Slytherin. From the Harry Potter Wikipedia, we know that “it is not established that Slytherin came from that particular region [fen].” Of course, we also know that he lived in the 10th century, founded Hogwarts with his other three friends, left the school after hiding his basilisk in the Chamber of Secrets, and died at some point in the Middle Ages. We also know that he was “ancient and monkey-like” and had a “long thin beard that fell almost to the bottom of his sweeping robes” that was white in color. We also know that he was power-hungry, possessed great cunning and determination, was a Parselmouth, and also valued pure blood over all others. He was considered as one of the greatest wizards of his age, even accomplishing Legilimency.

Tom_Riddle_Chamber_of_Secrets

What we don’t have are hardcore facts beyond this. Even his physical attributes are very basic, at best. So, in truth, he could be from anywhere. Considering his most radical ancestors, Marvolo Gaunt and Tom Marvolo Riddle, share Slytherin’s reliance on blood purity and their ancestry, we can see this is one trait that passed down through the generations.

Could it also be that the lie about ancestry was passed down with Slytherin? There are many instances of history repeating itself or haunting the present in the Potter series, particularly when a character’s ancestry comes up. Harry is considered by many to be just like his father in many ways, not just in his looks, but in his sense of adventure, disregard for rules, and willingness to do what is right in the face of danger. The heir of Slytherin threat was apparent twice in the wizarding world (once in the 1940s and then again in the 1990s when the books are set). Albus Dumbledore attempted throughout his entire life to right the mistakes of what happened for his younger sister, Ariana, and his father, Percival.

Sirius Black, in an attempt to not be like his bigoted family, treated the wrong creature with disdain (Kreacher) that ultimately guided him to his death. The most “haunted” of the books is The Deathly Hallows, as the hallows themselves and the ancestors of those who held them are important in the present just as they were when Death first gifted and cursed the world with the hallows.

3brothers02_woman

Two such known ancestors of the Peverell brothers from “The Tale of the Three Brothers” are Harry Potter and Tom Marvolo Riddle, better known as Lord Voldemort. Marvolo Gaunt, Voldemort’s maternal grandfather, claimed that he was a direct descendant not only of Salazar Slytherin, but of Cadmus Peverell, the man who owned the Resurrection Stone. As proof, he had a ring that had the Peverell coat of arms, what we now know is the Deathly Hallows symbol, that was set with the Resurrection Stone.

Harry Potter, as is well-known now after the ending of the series, is the descendant of Ignotus Peverell, the brother who chose the Cloak of Invisibility and then “greeted Death as an old friend.” Toward the end of The Deathly Hallows, in order to save everyone else, Harry must greet Death (in this case, Voldemort) as an old friend, without knowing that he’ll be able to choose whether or not he’ll live once he’s been killed.

But let’s get back to Voldemort and his ancestors for a moment. Cadmus Peverell wanted the Resurrection Stone because he pined after his love, who was dead, and he wished for a way to bring her back. He does, but she is not happy in this world, and he eventually lets her return before committing suicide presumably to be with her. The Harry Potter Wiki article further explains that Cadmus seemingly lived long enough to sire children, since the Gaunts are his descendants, and it’s possible that this love of his had died during childbirth.

If we think about that momentarily, it fits with another well-known character’s origin story: Voldemort. His mother, Merope, was deeply in love with a muggleborn, Tom Riddle, and presumably put him under a love potion so that she could marry him and have his child. She felt shameful at having to put her beloved under magic in order to make him love her in return, and she had figured since enough time had passed, and because she was about to bear his child, that he would love her even without the potion. Unfortunately, she was wrong. Merope was left alone and pregnant, having been cast out by her father and brother. She died soon after birthing and naming the boy who would grow to become Voldemort.

06-tom-riddle

Voldemort, later in life, was disgusted by his mother’s activities. And at first, it couldn’t have been because of the pureblood/muggleborn issue, because he didn’t realize he came from wizarding blood in the first place. It was a simple, base instinct of hatred toward a mother for not loving him enough, in his mind, to stay alive. Once he discovered his origins, Voldemort grew even more righteous in his fury, because his mother had loved a muggleborn more than she had loved him, the way he saw things. After further discovering his ancestor of Cadmus Peverell and his tragic end, Voldemort must have sworn off love of any kind by this point. As he saw it, and as Dumbledore tells the readers, Voldemort saw love as a weakness. And, in his mind, it had only brought tragedy. What he failed to realize was that history was attempting to teach him a lesson to be careful in love, not shun it altogether.

So did he take another lesson from the pages of his ancestor’s book when lying about his origins? Voldemort claimed pure blood, but the knowledge of Slytherin’s bloodline or even from where he hails is speculation at best. What I looked into was the etymology of the name “Salazar” (because the only etymology from “Slytherin” comes from Rowling’s books). This is what I discovered:

And “Salazar” is of Spanish or Portuguese origin, and means “dweller in the old hall.” It is from the Romance word “sala,” meaning “hall” and the Basque word “zahar,” meaning “old.” It can also refer to Salazar in Burgos, Spain. Obviously, this is a perfect name for Slytherin, who not only founded Hogwarts, but also created the Chamber of Secrets.

According to Wikipedia, the name originates from the town of the same name, which is in northern Burgos, Castile. Further, the name originates from a certain noble family that held a fief in that area. Wikipedia states, “Salazar is also a common surname among Roma people. Due to several censuses made in the Kingdom of Castile during the 14th and 15th centuries, every Castilian subject was forced to take a name and two surnames. The Roma, who used to call themselves only by a first name, decided to take established surnames to add prestige to their families. They chose from among the oldest noble families, usually of Basque origin, thus it is extremely common to find Roma with surnames such as Heredia, Salazar, Mendoza, or Montoya.”

It is possible that during her research, Rowling drew inspiration from the Roma people taking a new, well-known name as an opportunity to re-create themselves and garner respect. Perhaps this is what Slytherin did for himself and, as a result, Voldemort did the same thing to deny his own recent ancestry and recreate himself. This is why he chose a new name, one that was an anagram, so he wouldn’t have to share a name with a “Mudblood.”

Mudblood_sliced_into_Hermione's_arm_by_Bellatrix_Lestrange.

Voldemort cannot survive this story, because he spent all of his life denying his past. Dumbledore suffered the same fate. Both men knew the history of their families, for good or bad, and chose to cover them up so that they could become great men themselves. Voldemort’s was simply for power and eternal life for himself. Dumbledore’s, on the other hand, was to pay penance for what happened in his youth, and also perhaps to protect the wizarding world as a whole. Because they could not truly accept their pasts, they had to perish.

Harry, on the other hand, understood his ancestry and knew what he had to do, for better or worse. While he didn’t want to die, he knew that countless others would perish if he didn’t turn himself over to Voldemort. He learned from his own past mistakes and of his parents’, and instead took the gift of love that they had given to him in order to save the wizarding world.

Never being able to escape your past, and learning from it and accepting it as a part of yourself, but not allowing it to define who you are would be in keeping with many of the other lessons readers take away from the Potter series. Is it possible Rowling will ever acknowledge Slytherin’s past so that we can understand Voldemort even more? Only time will tell.

Read More

The Harry Potter Generation: Reading then vs. now

Like many of the people who are going to read this, I am part of the Harry Potter Generation. I grew up with Harry and was pretty much of a similar age with him throughout his journey. I felt like his story could be my own, and that I, too, could go to Hogwarts and have lots of adventures with my new magical friends. While I’m 26 now and still haven’t gotten that Hogwarts letter, it makes no difference.

As J.K. Rowling says… “You were all a part of the adventure anyway.”

Reading the books as a child brought me a great means of escape from reality whenever I wanted, which is why I re-read them so often. It taught me a lot about friendship, relationships of all kinds, and helped me to understand that not everyone is always so black and white in their motivations. It brought me into the wizarding world body and soul, and I’m not actually sure I ever left, as my friends and husband will all attest to.

I know that I’m not the only one who feels this way for the Potter universe. That’s why there are things like Pottermore, more movies, and extra books Our Queen J.K. Rowling has written for us to enjoy. With all of the excitement surrounding the Fantastic Beasts movies, I got on a kick last year to re-read my most beloved series, as it had been some time for me.

What I went through was an emotional roller coaster.

But I also realized something. With my new perspective as a 26-year-old, I had a lot of different feelings towards characters and scenes in the books that I hadn’t had before as a pre-teen. I wondered if it was simply because I already knew what was going to happen, or that it was because I’d spent countless hour debating on Internet forums and in real life about the intricacies of certain scenes that I knew them as well as I knew my best friend.

This was not the case. My own experiences in life had shaped my mind so that I was able to appreciate these books in a whole new way, most specifically a scene in Order of the Phoenix that I avoided for about a month.

When I read Sirius Black’s death scene, I vividly remember crying so hard that I couldn’t be consoled. I had to put the book away to try and sort through my emotions and feeling so empathetic toward Harry because of our not-so-large age gap.

P5_Sirius_Black

Harry just lost the best parental figure in his life, someone who cared so deeply for Harry, his parents, and all of his friends. Sirius’ death was a blow to Harry’s childhood, a marker of sorts of his being forced to grow up. His death came barely even two years after Harry had been allowed, in a way, to be a kid again with his newly found guardian. Harry had been able to reconnect to the past and his parents through Sirius and Remus Lupin in Prisoner of Azkaban and was starting to understand himself more through them.

This to me was a barely fathomable loss on Harry’s part at the time, and I was just as irate at Dumbledore with Harry when he began destroying the headmaster’s things in his office. I couldn’t forgive Rowling for this indiscretion for a long time, but I faithfully re-read all the books again before Half-Blood Prince came out in 2005.

Nine years later, I finally forced myself to pick up Order of the Phoenix once again and read the ending of the book. I made myself read Sirius’ death scene in its entirety.

I didn’t cry. I didn’t even pause when Remus restrained Harry to keep him from following Sirius beyond the veil.

I wondered if it was because the shock of Sirius’ death wasn’t as powerful because I knew it was going to happen. But after thinking about it momentarily, I decided that wasn’t it. My thoughts on Sirius as a potential caretaker and guardian to Harry had changed drastically as I’d grown into adulthood.

This is not to say that I did not still feel bad for Sirius dying, because I did. But my perspective upon him as an adult, as someone who was responsible for another’s life—specifically the life of his best friend’s son—had forever changed after reading this scene again, and really the entirety of the book, and even further back.

When Harry, Ron, and Hermione first encounter Sirius, it is in his dog Animagus form. Sirius takes Ron back to the Shrieking Shack via the Whomping Willow in the hopes of getting to Peter Pettigrew. Because of his monomania, Sirius loses his senses and forgets that, because Harry is so much like James, that he will want to follow. Sirius puts Harry and his friends in danger upon their first meeting.

On the positive, he does agree to Harry’s decision not to kill Pettigrew, which shows that he trusts Harry’s judgement even at his young age, which is a feat not many adults can accomplish in the real world, let alone a magical one.

fhd004HPN_Timothy_Spall_003

Sirius was prone to mood swings throughout Phoenix, and given his situation it is understandable. But if you want to prove yourself to be a fit parental figure, you have to sometimes set aside your own feelings so that the child in your care does not needlessly worry for you, or so that you don’t set a bad example. And while I appreciate that he was under great stress himself, he also needed to realize that showing this was going to get back to Harry and affect him in a negative way.

Another reason for my change in perspective of Sirius is actually very Hermione-esque. As a child, when I read Sirius’ cruelty toward Kreacher, I felt as though he were justified. I understood his anger and it felt as though Kreacher was getting his just desserts.

But when I was older and looking upon these scenes of cruelty, my mouth wouldn’t let up from a frown of disapproval down at the page. Kreacher was someone to be pitied for his long years alone in the house and for his being brainwashed by Mrs. Black to be as miserable as he was. Sirius acting like this in front of Harry did not set a great example for his godson.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 6.22.58 AM

I thought it interesting that one of the quotes people pull to showcase Sirius’ good sense is from the previous book, Goblet of Fire, in which Hermione is appalled by Barty Crouch’s treatment of his own house-elf, and Sirius agrees that it is a character defect. He then tells her, “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” This is particularly telling, because Sirius goes back on his own words in this regard. Kreacher is not his equal; in fact, Kreacher is essentially the Blacks’ slave. He of all creatures should be treated well, if Sirius’ statement about Crouch is any indication.

It is well known that Sirius and Severus Snape never got along, even when they were in school. However, Remus Lupin and Snape seemed to be at least stiffly polite to one another, and Remus did not rise to any of Snape’s challenges or verbal insults. Sirius, on the other hand, can’t let anything go, as he still sees Snape as being below him and someone to be hated. There is one thing Harry and Sirius have in common in Phoenix, and that is their temper (as evidenced by the prodigious use of the Caps Lock button throughout the book).

To set a better example for Harry, in my mind, would mean to show him that everyone has the ability to hold back their anger and set aside former grievances in order to grow as a person. This would have been especially helpful in Harry’s case, as his hatred of Draco Malfoy was nearly as great as Sirius’ hatred of Snape. However, Sirius once more did not set the best of examples for Harry in this regard, and while it is something that I went with him on as a child, as an adult I realize how harmful that could have been for Harry.

Sirius claimed to know the difference between Harry and his father, James, but that clearly wasn’t the case, as throughout the two books he’s in he refers to Harry as James a couple of times, and is really more trying to be his friend than anything. In fact, earlier in Phoenix, when Sirius and Harry were communicating through the fireplace in the Gryffindor Common Room, Sirius tells his godson, “’You’re a lot less like your father than I thought,’ he said finally, a definite coolness in his voice. ‘The risk would’ve been what made it fun for James.’”

Coolness is the word I focused on in that sentence, because it’s a very distancing word. It makes it seem as though Sirius is disappointed. He was looking for a spark of his friend in his godson, despite the fact that this would put him in danger. Sirius is looking for someone to have fun with, not to parent. This is another telling line that told me as a reader that Sirius was not prepared for his role as an adult in charge of the well-being of a child.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 6.25.28 AM

Sirius made half-attempts at protecting Harry during the Battle at the Department of Mysteries, allowing Harry to stay on in the fray instead of persuading him to take his friends and leave. I didn’t like that Sirius wasn’t trying to keep Harry away from the danger, and was instead almost egging him on to duel grow wizards and witches, dangerous Death Eaters who had no qualms about using Unforgivable Curses.

Sirius Black was not a bad person, just not one that I believe had the best abilities suited for giving Harry what he really needed: a father figure. And because of my different experiences as a young adult, I see him in a much different light that I did as someone Harry’s age. Then, he was the “cool” parent, but as real life shows, the “cool” parents are not always the best.

Once again, the Potter books have hammered home the fact that not every person you meet is completely good or bad. They all have qualities that make them unique to themselves for better or worse. Sirius was overall a caring person to those he loved, and it is very clear that he cares for Harry. However, that doesn’t mean that he was the best suited to take care of anyone, much less a kid in need of a father.

Re-reading the series as an adult has shed light onto just how much I’ve grown up past these characters on the pages. While I still love them and I still had a great time experiencing the adventures once again, I’ve enjoyed it in a different manner than I once did. I marvel at how well Rowling was able to appeal to a child’s sense of wonder while also creating characters that are so realistic that adults even have a hard time agreeing on their motivations and whether or not they were “good” or “bad.”

That is the beauty of the Potter books, though. No matter at what age you begin or restart your adventure, there’s always something new to discover. You can have spirited arguments over just about anything in the series, and everyone is bound to have their own opinions.

But there is one thing about the series that everyone will always agree upon. There is no more hated character than Dolores Umbridge.

Read More

Dany & Pip: Game of Thrones meets Great Expectations

I’ve wanted to talk about Daenerys Targaryen for quite some time, but I was never really certain how I wanted to talk about her. I was never really a huge fan of her—because I thought there were so many other characters who had more interesting story lines—until my third read-through of the first book in The Song of Ice and Fire series, Game of Thrones. It was during this latest reading of the text that I discovered something I couldn’t shake from my mind, and the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

Dany Targaryen is a modern-day, female version of Phillip (Pip) Pirrip from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. That’s right — Game of Thrones meets Great Expectations.

George R.R. Martin, that clever man, has written a bildungsroman for the fantasy genre. For those unaware, a bildungsroman is a coming-of-age story that generally focuses on a child’s psychological and/or moral development. Obviously, this term doesn’t just include Dany, but for my purposes, I’m just going to talk about her because of my epiphany.

Let’s just take a look at some of the similarities between the characters.

Dany
1.) Orphan

2.) Raised by older brother

3.) Older brother used her to gain favor with others/get closer to throne

4.) Brother physically threatened her/beat her (also heavy sexual implications not seen with Pip’s sister)

5.) Only knew of her past and her home through Viserys

6.) At the beginning of the story, she has absolutely no authority

7.) Supported by others/benefactors

8.) Shows kindness/offers help to those who need it most

9.) Brother dies and she feels guilty despite his treatment of her

10.) Names herself

Pip
1.) Orphan

2.) Raised by older sister

3.) Older sister used him to gain favor with others/to make herself look favorable

4.) Pip’s sister physically beat him at any chance that she had

5.) Only knew of his family lineage through his sister, because she had told him his name and everything he knows about himself

6.) Pip has no authority over anything at first, not even himself or his own given name

7.) Supported by a mysterious benefactor

8.) Is kind to everyone despite his circumstances

9.) Sister dies and he feels guilty despite her treatment of him

10.) Names himself (because he can’t say “Phillip”)

Obviously, their story lines start to differ greatly once there are dragons and the battle for a throne in one and the prime and proper British life for the other. But the general outline for how the two grow up—or how we are told the two of them grow up—are very similar. It’s these similarities that are so interesting despite the genres and the authors being very different.

The first four points are the most self-explanatory and may seem like mere coincidences without exploring much further into each of these characters. The fifth item for Dany is also well-known, but for those of you who missed this bit of information in your reading (or lack thereof) of Great Expectations, here is the line, which will show up on the first page of any of its publications: “I give Pirrip as my father’s family name, on the authority of his tombstone and my sister—Mrs. Joe Gargery, who married the blacksmith.” Pip very clearly states that the only reason he knows anything about himself or his family is because of his sister’s authority, not his own.

This leads us into the sixth point in both columns: both characters’ lack of authority. They have none in the beginning of either of their tales, simply because their older siblings have run their lives and lord over the fact that Dany and Pip would be dead if it weren’t for them. Because of this, Mrs. Joe and Viserys believe that they can use Pip and Dany, respectively, in whatever way she/he chooses. This lack of authority in Dany and Pip is something both struggle with throughout the rest of the stories. Pip’s story, obviously because it has ended, finally reaches the point where he has authority over himself, but because A Song of Ice and Fire has not ended yet, no one yet knows Dany’s fate. We can, however, see that she attempts to gain more authority over herself, but it does tend to backfire on her (e.g., when the slave cities she conquers and sets free are taken over once she leaves).

Points 6-9 are again all obvious, but 8 and 9 are peculiar in that both Dany and Pip still find a way to be kind even though their lone family member is very cruel to them. For Pip, it is Joe Gargery, husband to his sister, who is his best friend and the one who treats him with respect and kindness. Joe is a blacksmith, and not part of the upper crust at all. When Pip begins to come up in the world and spend more time with the higher class, he realizes that it is Joe who is the true gentleman instead of these gentlemen only in name. For Dany, it is Khal Drogo who (eventually) shows her that even the ones others deem “savages” are more genteel than those born of aristocracy. In this instance, secondary characters in the lives of Dany and Pip even have correlations. It is also through these secondary characters that Dany and Pip begin to gather their own sense of self, or an authority over their own person.

While Pip names himself in the very beginning of the novel, Dany receives her many names and begins to name herself after first Viserys, and then Drogo and her son, all die. Dany no longer has any (human) family left of her own, and it is only then that she is reborn the “Mother of Dragons.” Pip’s sister eventually also dies, leaving him with no family to call his own. However, he loves Joe as his own brother, and his love interest, Estella, has presumably begun coming to her senses. It is heavily implied that Pip can begin his own family under his own authority. Both Dany and Pip find their own authority through the death of others; but in this death, there comes the life of something else—something stronger than what they each had before.

The reason that I find this so neat? Martin mimics something from a mid-nineteenth century British novel and uses it for his purposes in a twentieth/twenty-first century American fantasy series. It shows that even what is considered part of the literary canon (and considered by others to have no relevance to modern-day living) can continue to be more than relevant to our literature now, and can even help us understand these newer characters better. Literature is in a constant cycle, just the same as the cycle that I believe both characters are a part of.

Both characters show that death is not just a definite end: it creates a cycle. For both Pip and Dany, death causes them great strife and leaves them in terrible positions early on in their life. But as their family dwindles, they find a strength in themselves that they weren’t formerly aware of and create a new life for themselves from all of this death around them.

And that’s ultimately what A Song of Ice and Fire is trying to show us, I think. No matter who sits the throne, there will always be someone to replace him/her; no matter who is the head of a House, great or small, there is someone next in line; no matter how a life ends, there will always be another to pick up right after it.

Read More

Books you need to read: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

When I decide whether or not I want to read a novel, I look at the first sentence. If that doesn’t catch my attention, I’ll set the book down and go to another. This may have been the case with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, however the first sentence was just vague enough to keep me reading. The text pulled me in—line by line—to its wonderful universe.

Miss Peregrine’s begins in a familiar setting to me: Florida, where I’ve lived for nearly 20 years. The Florida of the book is just as seemingly normal, hot, and sticky as my normal life is, and I believe these points are something Riggs does on purpose. We meet Jacob Portman in his early childhood when he idolizes his grandfather, Abraham, and all of his unique stories from his childhood before WWII accompanied by photographs of people involved.

Slowly, Jacob realizes that these stories and photos can’t be real. There’s no such thing as levitating girls, or invisible boys, and especially boys with bees living inside of him. If he continues to believe his grandfather, he’ll be ridiculed, so he explains this to Abraham, and the wonderful stories that filled Jacob’s head as a child stop. Riggs fast-forwards to Jacob’s teenage years, where he is on the cusp of hitting 16, when tragedy strikes.

Abraham mysteriously and gruesomely dies in Jacob’s arms while babbling about the monsters chasing him. This leaves Jacob psychologically and emotionally scarred. He tries to understand his grandfather’s dying words and how they link to letters discovered from a past paramour and another woman named Miss Peregrine. His parents send him to a psychologist, who suggests they allow Jacob to follow the mystery of the photographs and letters from Abraham’s past.

These objects lead Jacob and his father to Cairnholm, Wales. While there, Jacob journeys across the island to find the home of this Miss Peregrine, who is so far his only lead to more information about Abraham’s childhood. From this point on, the book is all uncanny places, people, and occurrences.

There is much to unwrap in this novel, but my favorite aspect is the fine line that Riggs creates through the narration. It is that of an older man looking back on his life as a young man, giving words and voice to ideas he couldn’t understand then, and isn’t even sure he understands now.

The language is beautiful and captivating, painting a picture of wherever Jacob finds himself so that the reader can clearly envision it. The syntax and word choice evoke a number of different emotions and help guide the reader through the story with Jacob, as if they are feeling his emotions with him. It is perhaps the most well-written young adult novel I have ever read.

The most interesting aspect of this novel, and what sets it off from so many others, are the photographs used throughout. These images are all real, and Riggs either bought them from yard sales or borrowed or purchased them from collectors over the years. These images helped to inspire the story, and some of them are quite disturbing, in particular a demented-looking department store Santa who appears to lack pupils. These photographs add great intrigue to the story, and it makes readers understand Jacob’s character that much more. These pictures filled his childhood and drove him to discover his grandfather’s secret past, and it’s easy to understand why after studying them at length.

Overall, Miss Peregrine’s is a great, fast read. Fast because I didn’t want to put it down, but also written in a way that is simple enough for normal readers to grasp. However, that does not mean the book doesn’t have its own depth. There are so many ways to look at and read the book more deeply. A reader of any level will find something to enjoy with this novel.

Miss Peregrine’s is not only a single novel, but a series, the third of which premieres in late September 2015. Soon, it will be a movie, directed by Tim Burton, and with an eclectic cast. Its release date is schedule for March 4, 2016.

An interesting change I’ve already noted in the movie’s pre-production stage is that Dr. Golan, Jacob’s psychologist and a male in the book, will be played by Allison Janney, a female actress. While this is a relatively small change, I believe it will have an interesting impact on the movie and, possibly, viewers’ interpretations. Jacob of the text is already surrounded by women who are as equally peculiar in their attitudes and personalities as are their talents, so an additional one in the film will be welcome.

While I know that book-to-movie translations cannot capture every scene, there is one scene that I can hope won’t be cut: Jacob’s sixteenth birthday party. Jacob’s parents are well off financially, and it’s reflected in every aspect of their strange family dynamic, especially at the birthday party.

Abraham has just died a short time ago, and Jacob—having witnessed his grandfather’s passing—is lacking in excitement. However, his parents hope to gloss over the fact that Jacob is not doing well mentally for the sake of keeping up appearances and also in the hopes of cheering him up. It’s as if they believe a well-planned party with lots of expensive presents will erase the horrific death he’s just witness.

The scene may appear as a throwaway to a lot of directors, writers, and producers, as they might feel it’s not as important as many other scenes that could be used in its place. I believe that witnessing this dynamic between Jacob and his parents first-hand will help viewers understand much about each of their characters in a very short time, and something that would benefit the film as a whole.

My hope is that Burton captures a very similar feel to his film Edward Scissorhands. Edward, the film’s most aesthetically frightening character, looks very much out of place in the cookie-cutter ‘50s housing he’s brought into. But even though he’s scary to look at, he’s soon discovered to be the most sensitive and empathetic character of the film. The gothic feel of that movie is something Burton should emulate in Miss Peregrine’s. Even the feelings evoked in Alice in Wonderland, with the once-amazing place of Wonderland becoming Underland since Alice has aged, would work well with this Miss Peregrine’s adaptation. In short, Burton has a lot of potential as a director with his specific credentials to create the world described in Riggs’ text and do it great justice.

With Burton, his cast, and a solid writer behind the adaptation, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is sure to be as much of a success as—if not more successful than—the novel.

Read More

WHAT’S A GUYSGIRL?

Since 2009, GuysGirl has become the voice for the female fan covering national topics on major sports, entertainment, and their surrounding culture. Through our editorial features, radio, livestream and TV broadcasts, we promote the on and off the field lifestyle of the female fan.

First time here? We gotchu. 

SHOWS

blythe brumleve podcast

Blythe is a former sports and entertainment broadcaster who quit it alllllll in order to dedicate more time to her growing digital brands. As a solopreneur based in Jacksonville, Florida, this podcast highlights the ups and downs of managing a side hustle in hopes it can lead to that elusive work/life balance.

NEED WEBSITE HELP?

The GuysGirl blog has lead to a career in website development and growth marketing. Check out our industry-specific work over at the parent company site, Brumleve Brands:

CONTENT CREATORS

TRUCKING/LOGISTICS

HOME BUILDERS